Specialty coffee is considered special due to its focus on quality, distinct flavors, and meticulous production/roasting processes.
Here are some key factors that set specialty coffee apart:
1. High-Quality Beans: Specialty coffee is typically made from high-quality Arabica beans, which are grown under specific conditions such as at higher altitudes and in specific regions known for their ideal climate and soil. They are scored and graded just like wine is scored.
2. Flavor Complexity: Specialty coffee offers a wide range of unique and complex flavors, often with distinct tasting notes. These flavors are a result of factors like the coffee's origin, bean variety, processing method, and roast profile.
3. Traceability: Specialty coffee is often traceable to its source, with information about the specific farm or region where it was grown. Think of this in respect to wine. You can buy a nondescript jug of red wine at the grocery store ( commercial grade) compared to a bottle of wine from a specific region, vineyard, and year ( specialty grade).
4. Sustainable Practices: Most specialty coffee producers and all that we source from prioritize sustainable and environmentally friendly practices to ensure that the farm will thrive and continue to produce great coffees in the future.
5. Artisanal Roasting: Specialty coffee is typically roasted by skilled roasters who carefully control all aspects of the roasting process, this helps to bring out the unique flavors in the beans without burning or over-roasting them. This burning or over-roasting is done by commercial roasters to cover up any defects the coffee might have.
6. Freshness: As we do, Specialty coffee is often roasted to order, ensuring that it reaches consumers at its peak freshness. This contrasts with mass-produced coffee, which can sit on store shelves for months or in some cases years.
7. Cupping and Evaluation: we use cupping, a sensory evaluation process, to assess and score the quality of our coffees. This rigorous evaluation helps maintain our high standards. To be considered a Specialty coffee it must score at least 80 points using the Specialty Coffee Association scoring sheet. We take that a step further and don’t purchase any coffees that score below 85 points.
In summary, specialty coffee is special because it prioritizes quality, unique flavors, sustainability, and transparency throughout the entire coffee production chain. This results in a coffee experience that goes beyond the typical mass-produced options, appealing to those who appreciate the art and science of coffee making. As well as those who just prefer to drink a better cup of coffee.